GDG- ISusquehanna River

Tom Barrett tbarrett21 at cox.net
Tue Jan 24 16:26:17 CST 2012


When we discussed this in some detail a couple of months ago, I was left
with the impression that most everybody agreed that Lee, being in possession
of some common sense, and being able to read maps, was using Harrisburg the
way a matador uses a red cape. His real intent was to have the AOP rushing
wildly after him (like a bull) and to defeat it piecemeal.  

Sending a force into Harrisburg was a good idea.  Preferably cavalry.  But
it made no sense for him to get a slow moving force trapped on the East side
of the Susquehanna until AFTER he'd sent the AOP home with its tail between
its legs. (Then he could move on to Boston, Buffalo, Syracuse or wherever.)

Of course, things never got that far, but I think he would have "sacked"
Harrisburg, wrecked the railroad, burned the warehouses, and waited for the
inevitable reaction- but waited on the West side of the river.

Regards,

TB 

-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com]
On Behalf Of George Connell
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:10 PM
To: GDG
Subject: Re: GDG- ISusquehanna River

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Peter,

Some relevant items from my Gettysburg notes:

	• During the Antietam Campaign when General John Walker, just up
from Richmond with his two-brigade division, reported to Lee at Frederick,
he says Lee told him that the Army was going to Harrisburg, destroy the
Pennsylvania railroad bridge, and then go to Philadelphia, Baltimore, or
Washington. (B&L, vol. 3). See also R. E. Lee, Vol II, pp. 360-1 for on his
thoughts on operating east of the Susquehanna during this campaign.

	• Dorsey Pender, June 28, 1863, June 28, 1863: "I hope we may be in
Harrisburg in three days..." Lee's Lieutenants, Vol III, pp.76-77.

	•  Lee to Ewell:  “If Harrisburg comes within your means, capture
it.” O.R., 27, pt.3. p.914

	• ..."orders were...issued to move upon Harrisburg. O.R., 27, pt. 2,
p.. 316.

	• June 28: Ewell ordered Rhodes to cross the river and capture
Harrisburg. Rich Kohr, Gettysburg LBG, 8/6/6

	•  Lee’s orders to Hill on June 28 were to follow in trace of Early,
cross the Susquehanna downstream from Harrisburg, and seize the railroad
between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. James Robertson, General A. P. Hill, p.
204

	• "Then 'Jeb' started the entire column for Carlisle, vis Dillsburg.
He chose this objective because he reasoned that if the SOuthern infantry
had advanced to the Susquehanna and were not in the vicinity of York, they
must be around Carlisle or Harrisburg." Lee's Lieutenants, Vol III, p. 137.

	• Lee: “To-morrow, gentlemen, we will not move to Harrisburg as
expected, but will go over to Gettysburg and see what General Meade is
after.” Gettysburg Nobody Knows, pp 110-111.

	• Lee was going to Harrisburg. So say the document and spontaneous
utterances. He changed his mind because of a lack of cavalry to block the
passes. Tony Nicastro, LGB, in a lecture to the Gettysburg Licensed
Battlefield Guide class, 6/27/6

	•  In Lee’s perfect world: he would dig in at Cashtown, block the
passes, wait for Stuart, and head for Harrisburg if possible. Tony Nicastro,
LGB, in a lecture to the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide class, 6/28/6

Now that's ten citations from eight respected sources; I have more but it
gets repetitious. 

You can moan, you can grumble, and you can speculate, but what you cannot do
is doubt any longer. Lee was going to Harrisburg (and other points east of
the Susquehanna)--and he was taking a lot of infantry with him.


 Regards,

George
26ª11'56"N   81ª48'19W"

On Jan 24, 2012, at 4:01 PM, CWMHTours at aol.com wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> George....
> 
> I love you Man....
> 
> But I DO doubt it......
> 
> Think of the consequences for Lee.
> 
> Before capturing a big city like Hrsbg he would have an intact  artmy.  He

> takes that army on the wrong side of the  river.
> 
> Look at the Confederate occupation of Frederick in the  CW.  Before Ant. 
> they lost a lot of men getting drunk in the town, not to  mention Jackson 
> falling asleep during the sermon in the Presbytyrian  church.
> Occupying a city for ANY army is fraught with  danger.  You don't just go 
> in and parade around.  You risk losing  control of yo0ur army.
> 
> Lee was in the N only to threaten the N, not to capture a  city.
> 
> And, Sir, please tell me what benefit Lee would gain fro being  on tne 
> wrong side of the Sus R when his supply lines were in the  Cumberlaand?  
> Politely, I would like to hear an argument for Lee going  into Harrisburg.
To me 
> it makes no sense.
> 
> So I do doubt it.,
> 
> A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,
> Peter  
> 
> 
> In a message dated 1/24/2012 3:34:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
> georgeconnell at mac.com writes:
> 
> Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
> Peter,
> 
> There is absolutely no doubt that Lee  intended to capture Harrisburg. To 
> do that, he would have to move infantry  east of the Susquehanna. How long

> they would stay is another question and very  much depends on how much
time he 
> had before the AoP would have been  close.
> 
> Regards,
> 
> George
> 26ª11'56"N    81ª48'19W"
> 
> On Jan 24, 2012, at 2:32 PM, Dave Gillespie  wrote:
> 
>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> The Susquehanna  River is extremely low once it gets past Harrisburg,
>> where it is also  very low.  I have seen a good deal of the
>> Susquehanna, both in  South Central PA (I grew up in Carlisle, PA) and
>> in South Central New  York, where it is much deeper, yet narrower.  It
>> is a fascinating  river.
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> Dave Gillespie
>> Parsippany,  NJ
>> 
>> On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM,   <CWMHTours at aol.com> wrote:
>>> Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
>>> Jeff and Andy bring up some good issues.
>>> 
>>> The Susq R is an amazing river basin and the largest water   source of 
> the
>>> Ches Bay.  Goes all the way up into southern  NY  state.
>>> 
>>> Extremely wide.  Just north of  the state border with MD  there is a
huge
>>> dam, the  Conowingo.  some 30-40 mi north of that is 3 Mile   Island.
>>> 
>>> Someone correct me but if I recall correctly  rocks are  apparent in low
>>> water on the R at  Wrightsville.
>>> 
>>> I cannot imagine any sane Conf  commander putting any  significant 
> number of
>>> infantry east of  the river during the GTYSBG  campaign.  You might as  
> well
>>> wave goodbye as  they marched off to  Johnson's  Island.
>>> 
>>> If I wuz Ewell I'd put cavalry that could  move fast east of  the river 
> but
>>> not infantry.
>>> 
>>> In magazines like American Heritage I have read stories of   loggers 
> putting
>>> log rafts a good mile long down the river from  NY.  Pretty  amazing 
> stories.
>>> 
>>> The  Susq  R is an earthquake fault.  Interesting on  the East  Coast.  
> The
>>> Hudson also is an earthquake fault, oddly   enough.  If I lived in 
> Manhatten I
>>> wouldn't be able to sleep  knowing that.  And certainly in a high rise.
>>> 
>>> If  you go online you can see that the southern half of the C  Bay is  a
>>> crater from a meteor striking it millions of years  ago.
>>> 
>>> The Conowingo Dam basin is an environmental  issue (No politix  here!).

> The
>>> overflow is full of  phosphates which are killing the bay (I  need my
>>> crabs!).  And more frighteningly the dam has pretty much silted up   to 
> water level
>>> with silt.  The silt is full of heavy metals,  which scares  experts,
and
>>> costs me sleep at night worrying  about it.
>>> 
>>> Cadmium, lead, mercury, etc. It is  pretty  scary.
>>> 
>>> That's my story, along with the  57mm's gun in Wrightsville and  I am
> 
>>> sticking to  it.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> A  Loyal Neo-Anti  Unionist,
>>> Peter
>>> 
>>> 
>>> In a message  dated 1/24/2012 1:50:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>>> amills at jplcreative.com writes:
>>> 
>>> Esteemed  GDG  Member Contributes:
>>> Jeff:
>>> 
>>> Out of  curiosity:  is the dam in  which you refer, the one just below  
> City
>>> Island across from the city?
>>> 
>>> Thanks,
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From:  gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com  
> [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com]
>>> On Behalf  Of Jeff  Burk
>>> Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:42 PM
>>> To:  GDG
>>> Subject:  Re: GDG- Inevitable defeat
>>> 
>>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>>> Your  point  about the river being shallow is true today.  However that 
> is
>>> because the river has been dammed upstream.  during the  war  the  river
>>> flowed free.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Namaste
>>> 
>>> Jeff  Burk
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> ________________________________
>>>> From:   "CWMHTours at aol.com" <CWMHTours at aol.com>
>>>> To:   gettysburg at arthes.com
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012  1:14  PM
>>>> Subject: Re: GDG- Inevitable  defeat
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed GDG  Member  Contributes:
>>>> The river at that point is frequently shallow  in  summer  droughts but
>>>> very wide and quite an  obstacle. Very  rocky.
>>>> 
>>>> A smart and  careful commander would not want to put more  than   an
>>>> expeditionary force that could have been sacrificed  on  the east side 
> of
>>> the  river.
>>>> Harrisburg was no significant  military goal other than being a   state
>>>> capital and RR  center.
>>>> 
>>>> Thre are 2 57mm guns sitting on the west side of the   river  there.
>>>> 
>>>> A  Loyal  Neo-Anti  Unionist,
>>>> Peter
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> In a message dated 1/24/2012  2:22:49  A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>>>> mdblough1 at comcast.net   writes:
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed  GDG Member  Contributes:
>>>> Tom-The  militia destroyed it in order to  keep the  Confederates using

> it
>>> to
>>>> cross over  the the eastern shore of the Susquehanna.  Harrisburg  is  
> on
>>> the
>>>> east and this would have enabled the  Confederates to   attack the city
>>> from
>>>> both sides. While Lee initially ordered the  bridge's  destruction,  
> the
>>> ANV
>>>> generals on the scene saw the   advantages to saving it and  tried to 
> save
>>> it.
>>>> The Susquehanna is  not one of the wildest rivers in  the  world but
>>> bridges
>>>> were  needed to  cross it and with that bridge out there  wasn't
another
>>> until
>>>> Harrisburg. The hope was to destroy sections so it  could  be  rebuilt
>>> later
>>>> but, in the  days before dynamite, that sort of  precision  wasn't  
> easily
>>>> obtained. The Columbia-Wrightsville  bridge was a  wood &  stone
covered
>>> bridge
>>>> believed to  be the  longest such bridge in the world at  the time and

> the
>>> flames
>>>> that  destroyed the wood, leaving  only the granite  supports.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Regards,
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Margaret
>>>> 
>>>> ----- Original  Message  -----
>>>> From: "Tom"   <bunco973 at optonline.net>
>>>> To: "GDG"    <gettysburg at arthes.com>
>>>> Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012  10:38:11  PM
>>>> Subject: Re: GDG- Inevitable  defeat
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed  GDG Member   Contributes:
>>>>>>> And
>>>> in fact, if  you  think about it, the damn  thing IS still made of  big
>>>> granite  blocks. Now just how are you going to   knock the darn thing 
> over
>>>> without a
>>>> whole lot  of valuable time and  trouble?  <<< It was destroyed, by  
> fire
>>>> (not the granite supports   of course), by  Union militia.
>>>> Regards, Tom B.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From:  CWMHTours at aol.com
>>>> Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012  9:28  PM
>>>> To: gettysburg at arthes.com
>>>> Subject: Re:  GDG-  Inevitable defeat
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed GDG  Member  Contributes:
>>>> Dave,
>>>> 
>>>> Respectfully Sir,
>>>> 
>>>> I think  we  disagree,  sir.
>>>> 
>>>> Where is it  written that Lee disagreed  with Jackson about
destroying
>>>> infrastructure in the North? I  think Lee was  just about as  
> aggressive as
>>>> Jackson was in   bringing the war to your opponent. for  example, 
> Antietam,
>>> 
>>>> Gtysbg,
>>>> & Monocacy.
>>>> 
>>>> I am not  dispersing  you personally. I just see  Lee & Jackson as 
> being a
>>>> balanced   combination.
>>>> 
>>>> By the time of 2nd Man Lee   could see the Hammer and the  Anvil.
>>>> 
>>>> The  Hammer was  Jackson.
>>>> 
>>>> The Anvil was the  wonderful  James Peter  Longstreet, the Old  
> Warhorse.
>>>> 
>>>> Also, just curious, I   don't  recall reference to Lee being concerned
>>> about
>>>> destroying  the RR bridge  over the Susq. R.  being a big concern of 
> his.
>>> And
>>>> in fact, if you  think  about it, the damn thing IS still made of   big
>>>> granite blocks. Now just how  are you going to knock  the darn  thing 
> over
>>>> without a
>>>> whole lot  of  valuable time and  trouble?
>>>> 
>>>> Lee's 3 raids up north where just that.  Raids.  Move overwhelming  
> forces
>>>> up north and attack piecemeal in    overwhelming force.
>>>> 
>>>> The purpose of going  north for Lee was  to  de-stabilizing the North.
>>>> Everything else was a subset.
>>>> 
>>>> A Loyal   Neo-Anti Unionist,
>>>> Peter
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>
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